Republican senators including Rubio and Scott of Florida raised concerns over Interior’s five-year offshore drilling plan, to expand drilling into the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. Coastal states are concerned about the impact of a spill on their tourism industries.
Bernhardt has assuaged some of those concerns in recent days, so Rubio and Scott voted for his confirmation. Republican senators from North Carolina and South Carolina, two states opposed to drilling off their coastlines, voted to confirm Bernhardt.
“I am VERY confident that when all is said & done no oil drilling is coming to our coastline,” Rubio said on Twitter ahead of the vote.
Rubio and Scott had sent a letter to Bernhardt last month urging him to keep Florida protected from offshore drilling to honor a promise Zinke had made prior to his resignation that Florida would be exempted from the plan.